Walkabout

Marge: We have those in America. They're called bull frogs. 
Australian: That's weird! I'd have called them chuzzwazzers!
- The Simpsons, Bart vs Australia 

We met Richard at the first full-scale BC Drinks, back in the days when Jam Circus was practically the only show in town, we knew most of our regular readers by name and people would see fit to moan about a pint costing a whopping £3.20 (the price points change, but the gripes stay the same). So his departure shortly afterwards felt like a bitter betrayal - we take it personally when any of you leave. Happily, four years later, he's back. Since he was around when Brockley was invented in 2007 we asked him to reflect on how the place had changed in his absence. Here's what he says:

When I left for Australia Brockley felt like an area with potential, a burst of exciting developments tantalisingly on the horizon. Returning to Brockley it feels like an area that has started to deliver on its potential and excitingly a momentum has developed that will hopefully mean we don't have to wait so long for more improvements to come!

The first thing I noticed on my return was Brockley Common, the area outside the station looks fantastic. The removal of barriers on Brockley Road and the remodelling of the pavements around Brockley Cross to get rid of all the double parked vans has really improved the area around the station.

The second thing I noticed was how Brockley's shops and restaurants have improved. Old favourites (e.g. Meze Mangal, Barbur, Broca, Jam Circus) have been retained. While places that I remember have disappeared - Toads Mouth Too, Dandelion Blue, Moonbow Jakes - happily their sites have all be taken over by new ventures which appear to be drawing in the crowds. Finally are new ventures that have opened up which I'm keen to check out including El's Kitchen, Brockley's Rock and Coopers Bakehouse. 

I've been to the fantastic Brockley Market twice. Sydney has some amazing farmers markets and I'm pleased that I have somewhere similar to shop from in SE4.

Our areas green spaces have also been improved while I've been away. Perhaps I didn't notice before, but we seem to have a lot of them too! The Green Chain and Waterlink Way link up some great parks that have had their facilities improved. I'm sure we didn't have as many children's playgrounds, sporting facilities and picnic benches when I left. It really isn't very hard to escape from the traffic enjoy some time, or in my case a run, in a long chain of parks.

Has the demographic in Brockley subtly shifted? It feels like there are more young professionals and new families in the area. Dinner in the Orchard, the patrons at Browns of Brockley and shops like Gently Elephant make me think the area is becoming younger and more affluent?

Finally our neighbours seem to be changing too. Development from Greenwich has extended along the High Road and connects almost seamlessly with Deptford which is undergoing an enormous transformation. New Cross seems to be moving up too, I've been particularly enjoying the London Particular café.

I'm very pleased to be back in Brockley. Living closer to Lewisham Way than Brockley station I'm hoping some of the regeneration will rub off on us too. One day the shipping container will go. One day!

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't this a big dog whistly?

I like Jam, but since when was it the only show in town? The Barge? The Wickham??

Why no mention of these or Top Chef, Dominics or Fishy Business on the 'old favourites'?

Stating the obvious said...

"Why no mention of these or Top Chef, Dominics or Fishy Business on the 'old favourites'?"

Er... because maybe those places weren't Richard's favourites. It's his personal opinions on Brockley. Not everyone likes what you like you know?

? said...

Does Richard exist, or is he merely one of Nick is Nick's alter egos?

lol said...

@anon, it was "Brockley Royale" walkabout and Top Chef, Dominics or Fishy Business didn't make the cut!

Adam said...

I don't know whether to view this as naive Broptimism or just plain Bropaganda

headhunter said...

But I thought Richard had left jam circus to run the royal Albert in new cross? You mean to say that all this time he's been in Sydney?!

M said...

Think that might be a different Richard...

M said...

P.S That Richard is now at the Catford Bridge Tavern.

Anonymous said...

Does "Richard" like anywhere not on the Politburo's approved list?

Anonymous said...

Well, Nick is Nick is a consummate BR professional...so I'd go for the Bropoganda!

troll hunter said...

the assage like paranoia of the anons is very ammusing. and the irony of them implying that nick posts supportive comments under assumed names is ironic to say the least. the anons could all be different or they could be the same unemployed, bitter halfwit who was apparently abducted by alliens.

AND once again, the comments are unmoderated so they can display their lunacy freely. triple irony score. 150 points

troll hunter said...

by the way, richard is right. there is more variety now than 5 years ago. nothing wrong with the barge and wickham. they are still there and doung well.

richard, you may have noticed more crazies on here. its a mesure of its sucess. nutters like a platform. most of uscare perfectly nice.

Dave said...

Good article Richard, reminds you of what's gone on here. It's easy to forget.

And boring anons, the article is about what's changed. An article listing all the things that have stayed the same would be... boring.

Richard Elliot said...

I thought I'd leave a quick comment to confirm I am a real person and let you know I'm not the Richard from Jam Circus.

I'm keen to discover all interesting and recommended places in Brockley now I'm back, so please let me know where I should go!

Anonymous said...

What's your position on Top Chef?

Brockley Ben said...

I think they only feed trolls in Top Chef

terrencetrentderby said...

once you've had top chef you never go back.

Anonymous said...

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/top-chef-cafe-319-brockley-road.html


:D

Westsider said...

Not sure of my timings Richard but you should definitely have a look at The Talbot and The Royal Albert. Both in good shape these days. The Gantry and The Orchard of course, but also Brockley Mess, Mo Pho and Brockley's Rock.

Plus, never been but Nick's always banging on about that pizza bus and I have to admit it does sound good.

Ben H said...

Pizza bus is great, we also love *cough cough* Dominics for a DVD night in. Smiles is a fantastic Thai joint, not sure how long its been there though.

AliAliAfro said...

If you ever went to the amersham before you went over to Oz I'd recommend going back for a look - Although the art students may make you feel a little old and unfashionable (or mature and sane depending on your outlook).

Happy Mondays comedy gigs are great. So far I have seen Richard Herring, Dave Gorman, Brendan Burns, Andi Osho (amongst others) never paying more than £6.

Al said...

Not Brockley but not far - follow the 'other' Richard to the Catford Bridge Tavern. Amazing food and ales.

HeckMcBuff said...

Welcome back Richard. It's nice to know that Brockley can compete against a spectacularly beautiful city like Sydney in keeping you in the UK.

kolp said...

Speaking of Catford & areas changing the Catford Broadway market is on this sunday. 1st Sunday of the month. It's the third one. 10-4pm.

So market followed by lunch at the Catford Taven (if you can get a table!!). Mid Sunday sorted!

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